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600 E. Boulevard Ave.
  Bismarck, ND 58505-0599
  701.328.7088 phone
  701.328.3700 fax
  877.328.7088 toll-free
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rick Clayburgh, Tax Commissioner 701-328-2770
April 27, 2004 Kathryn Strombeck, Research Analyst, 701-328-3402

North Dakota Taxable Sales and Purchases Grow in 2003

BISMARCK --- Tax Commissioner Rick Clayburgh released a key statistical report today that shows taxable sales and purchases for the year 2003 grew by 4.2 percent, exceeding $7.347 billion as compared to $7.053 billion for 2002.

Retail trade, the largest of the industry categories in terms of dollars, contributed the most to the overall amount of growth, increasing by more than $158 million from 2002 or 4.2 percent.

"The retail sector is often used as a measure of the overall health of the economy," said Clayburgh. "Even with rising oil prices and the ongoing war, our retail sector remained solid during 2003."

A 60 percent increase in the transportation category helped increase the total taxable sales and purchases for the transportation, communication, and public utilities sector by 20 percent in 2003 compared to 2002 figures. The transportation category is primarily passenger transportation and trucking services.

The mining and oil extraction sector grew by 16.5 percent compared to 2002, the construction sector grew by 6.9 percent, services grew by 4.7 percent, and manufacturing grew by 1.8 percent.

"With the exception of the wholesale trade sector, all other sectors experienced growth," said Clayburgh, referring to the 3.5 percent decline for the wholesale trade sector. Clayburgh attributed the drop in wholesale trade to the used farm machinery exemption that became effective halfway through 2002.

"The 2003 growth rate for taxable sales and purchases would have been 5.6 percent if used farm machinery had been exempt for the entire base year," said Clayburgh.

Of the 200 largest cities, the biggest percentage increases in 2003 were Page up 84.4 percent; Davenport up 59.4 percent; Gladstone up 49.5 percent; Abercrombie up 38.2 percent; and Kulm up 33.8 percent. The biggest percentage decreases for the 200 largest cities, were in Buxton down 78 percent; Starkweather down 73.6 percent; Cogswell down 58.6 percent; Hunter down 53.3 percent; and Michigan down 52.9 percent.

Included in the annual report are statistics for each of the state's 53 counties. Sioux County led all counties with increases in 2003, with an 11.5 percent growth over 2002. Billings County was next, increasing by 11.5 percent; LaMoure County was up 10.6 percent; Oliver County was up by 9.4 percent; and Richland County up by 8.2 percent. The counties registering the sharpest decline were Ransom County with a drop of 28.4 percent; followed by Nelson County down 27.3 percent; Traill County down 25 percent; Sheridan County down 24.2 percent; and Logan County down 12.3 percent.

The complete North Dakota Sales and Use Tax Statistical Report for 2003 is available on the Office of State Tax Commissioner's website: www.nd.gov/tax/

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